Having risen to global stardom as a teenager, Niall Horan is in a better position than most to offer advice and support to ambitious youngsters looking to make it to the top.
What may surprise you is that it’s the next generation of golf hopefuls who are the ones receiving that knowledge and guidance from the former One Direction star.
Horan – a huge golf fan who regularly enjoys a round with both Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose – along with his management team, formed Modest! Golf just over 18 months ago, and will next year have two of their young stars on the European Tour. But just what was it that attracted the singing sensation to form a golf management company?
“I’ve got a big passion for golf and so do the other directors. We all have a major passion for the sport and felt like we wanted to get into it,” Horan explained to Sport360˚.
“I obviously spend a lot of time going to tournaments and seeing young guys at tournaments and I like watching people do well, so hopefully we’ll see these young guys come through the ranks and then taking on the European Tour.
“Eighteen months in we’ve got two guys who have just got their cards and will be spending next season on the European Tour, so it’s now about them keeping their heads and working hard to see if they can get on the money list next year.”
His music industry experience is, in many ways, easily transferable to the golf world. While Horan was selling out shows across the globe with One Direction as a teenager, his management team were on hand to ensure performing to the best of his ability was his sole focus.
That’s very much what the 24-year-old and the Modest! Golf team are now doing with the young golf stars who they have on their books, as they bid to provide them with all the support they need to ensure they make it to the top of their profession.
“I was hearing so many stories before I started the company from guys who felt like they weren’t managed and had to worry about other things apart from hitting golf balls, which shouldn’t be the case,” Horan added.
“I can’t teach them how to hit a five iron, but I can do everything else for them. They shouldn’t have to worry about anything else apart from getting out on the course, shooting low and winning tournaments.
“It’s majorly important and I guess a lot of the guys we’re signing are of a similar age to me. I’ve been in what you would say the business for a while and I kind of know how things work. I feel I’ve got that good moral support alongside them.”
Of those young golfers currently on the Modest! Golf books, it’s the two who have recently secured their 2018 European Tour cards that Horan is backing to make the biggest impact in the new year.
“Connor Syme, our latest signing, has been making a bit of a run and has just recently got his card. Christiaan Bezuidenhout, a South African guy, has had a great season and got his card as well, so I think the two boys on the European Tour will be looking to enjoy a good first season,” said Horan.
“Then we’ve got Jack Singh-Brar, who only just missed out on getting his card by a couple of shots, so he’ll be looking to do a bit of damage next season.” While Niall focuses on helping those youngsters make a positive start to 2018, the Irishman will also have one eye on the comeback of golf legend Tiger Woods.
“I’m obviously delighted (he’s back). He’s the reason even lads like Rory and maybe those a touch older picked up a golf club in the first place,” Horan said.
“Just generally in sport he has been unbelievable. “He changed the way golf was played. He was probably one of the first golfers to ever go into a gym or really look at it from a sport science point of view. He just changed the way everyone looked at golf.
“I’m delighted to see him back. He looks like he is healthy and that swing looks more like it did about 10 years ago, so it’s nice to see him being free, loose and healthy.
“It looks like he can definitely compete. At the Hero Challenge he looked pretty fit and looked like he could play. Hopefully he can kick on into next season and give us all what we want.”
Horan was one of those who got into golf because of Woods’ exploits, and the singer is regularly out on the course with his close friend McIlroy. The two will be teaming up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic ProAm tomorrow and Horan is very much looking forward to the experience.
“I’ve been doing alright this year, but not playing as much as I would like to. I’m going to try and get a few rounds in before I head anywhere near a ProAm with one of the best golfers on the planet,” admitted Horan.
“Luckily, when you’re playing with professionals like that, because you’re friends with them, it just seems like you’re playing with a friend who is really, really good at golf. It’s always the people who aren’t so good who are most critical.
“When I first played with Rory and my other close friend Justin Rose, I was obviously extremely nervous, but then after a couple of rounds you realise you’re just playing with a couple of friends who happen to be very good.
“You forget the fact you’re playing with that person just because you’re friends with them. It can be very daunting. I don’t think I’d beat them unless they gave me about 12 shots.”
Horan and McIlroy will also be taking part in the Omega Constellation Clinic this Friday, with all fans who purchase tickets for any day of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic entered into a prize draw.
The winner will also receive a set of Taylor Made golf clubs. For more information, head to www. omegadubaidesertclassic.com.
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